Water Patrol Deputy of the Year

Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
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Wright County officer named DNR's Water Patrol Deputy of the Year

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has named Wright County Sheriff's Deputy Joel Mackereth as Water Patrol Deputy of the Year Award for his accomplishments in the field.

Mackereth has been a peace officer in Wright County for 27 years and coordinates the Recreational Enforcement and Reserve Unit. His unit patrols more than 200 lakes and a number of rivers in the county year-round.

DNR Boat and Water Safety Coordinator Kim Elverum said of Mackereth at the award presentation, "Your efforts in providing service to the citizens and local units of government in the county, as well as boaters, anglers and other water users, show that you are an outstanding professional who is a great asset to both Wright County and the state of Minnesota."

Mackereth's career includes holding positions as a part-time deputy beginning in December 1983; a full-time deputy in April of 1984; a patrol sergeant in May 1995; and coordinator of both the Sheriff's Office Recreational Enforcement and the Reserve Program units starting in 1997.

"I've worked with Joel for many years in Wright County and he is always easy to get along with," said DNR Conservation Officer Brian Mies (Annandale). "He has been very helpful on boat and water safety issues through the years."

Mackereth's duties include supervising, organizing and training full time, temporary and volunteer reserve personnel. He is also responsible for the application and administration of both state and federal grants, along with the issuance of structure permits. He is charged with approval and monitoring of all permitted events, coordinating and cooperating with such organizations as local and state agencies, sheriff's departments, and city fire and police departments throughout the county.

He also manages a fleet of equipment that includes boats, snowmobiles, trucks and ATV's and a hovercraft along with other equipment which is required for field operations.

Mackereth's organizational skills have brought the county's boat and water safety program to the forefront. In 1997, he was the only full-time deputy in the recreational enforcement unit and increased its size to meet growing demand by recruiting 30 part-time deputies, 65 water patrol volunteers and adding the sheriff's reserve unit. He has also kept up required training for both the recreational and reserve unit personnel, including the operation of personal watercraft, shallow-water drive craft, hovercraft and traditional patrol boats.

He has continued training and certification of the county sheriff's dive team members in all operational phases, including open water and through-ice operations. He completed classes in boating accident investigation, drowning investigation and personal watercraft use for enforcement.

Mackereth has responded to and investigated a number of boating accidents and drownings in the county during his career. He has made a special effort in reaching out to the citizens of Wright County through lake association meetings, instructing youth in various recreational safety classes and teaching water safety skills to the volunteers in the "Let's Go Fishing" program.

The annual Water Patrol Deputy of the Year award goes to individuals who display superior effectiveness and professionalism as county sheriff's boat and water safety deputies.